Deputies move swiftly while victims’ families lay their dead to rest
■ Kyle Selby / Reporter
Sheriff’s deputies have arrested four Hemet residents for investigation of the execution-style slayings in San Jacinto earlier this month of 19-year-old Lauren Lopez and 22-year-old Patrick Powell Jr.
According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, its Central Homicide Unit “developed information” leading to the identity of the suspects involved in the double murder. Two search warrants were secured by investigators Tuesday, Jan. 9, for a residence located in the 300 block of Monte Vista Way and another in the 100 block of La Amistad Way, both in Hemet.
With the help of the Riverside District Attorney’s Office and the Hemet Police Department, the Riverside Sheriff’s Department SWAT team was able to successfully serve both warrants and apprehended all four suspects.
Ariel Savoie, 19, Kenneth Wilson, 18, Martel Patrick McBride, 18, and Alexis Mary Garcia, 19, were arrested for investigation of the murders of Lopez and Powell. Savoie, Wilson and McBride are all residents of Hemet. Garcia lived in Valle Vista, just outside city limits. Following their arraignment last Friday, Savoie, McBride, and Wilson are scheduled to reappear in court Friday, Jan. 26. Savoie, McBride, and Garcia are each being held on $2 million bail and are facing charges of murder with malice. McBride was also charged with kidnapping and public fighting. Wilson has no bail set at present and is also facing attempted murder charges. Garcia’s next court date, separate from the others, is scheduled for Feb. 23.
Powell’s younger sister, Aujaye Chanice Powell, says Savoie is the mother of one of Patrick’s children, 6-month-old Kash, and is also Lopez’s cousin. Powell’s sister says neither she nor her family had any idea Savoie was involved because she had been mourning with the rest of the family. “She was lying to me dead in my face,” said Aujaye. “We cried about my brother being gone! I can’t believe this!”
Lopez and Powell were found shot to death two weeks ago, their car crashed into a ditch near the intersection of Ramona Expressway and N. Warren Road in San Jacinto. Bullet holes riddled the rear window of Lopez’s Chevy Hatchback.
After Powell was found, Savoie posted a status on her Facebook page mourning his loss, ending the post with, “I promise you Kash will remember you!” She was arrested about a week later.
Lopez was memorialized during a candlelight vigil on Saturday, Jan. 6 at Team Quest Athletic Center in San Jacinto, where she worked as an instructor. On Monday, Jan. 15, a memorial and viewing service was held at 4/12 Church,1450 W 7th St. in San Jacinto.
“We not only got to get to know her from all of the stories, but just the fact that the family is already going down that road of forgiveness…it was really good,” commented San Jacinto City Councilman Scott Miller, who was among the hundreds that went to the service.
“That type of service is a tough one,” he added. “Seeing a 19-year-old girl in a coffin shouldn’t happen, but it was really well done.” Miller said that Lopez’s parents’ prayers were answered — that a suspect would be caught before they had to lay their daughter to rest.
Lopez worked three jobs — an MMA instructor, a Home Depot associate, and an employee at an elderly care facility — and was a student at Mt. San Jacinto College. Powell was described as “a loving father” to three young children, and he liked to skate, make music, and work on cars.
A charity car wash for Patrick Powell Jr. will take place Saturday, Jan. 20 at American Legion Post 710, at 2181 W. Highland Avenue, in San Bernardino.